Many years ago there was a very funny movie starring Tony Curtis and Jerry Lewis about a news paper reporter who juggle the schedules of three different stewardesses that worked for different airline companies. As the story proceeded the schedules got more and more complicated as the airlines purchased newer, faster aircraft.
A couple of months ago Boeing came to the Northwest with plans to build their newest plane in the Everett plant. They obviously saw the benefit of the a well organized, highly trained group of machinist that live in this area. They are the same folks that help Boeing repair the damaged cause to the 787 project by outsourcing to vendors around the world to build different components of the plane for final assembly in Everett. The machinist outcry over the out sourcing of the work was huge, ugly and pretty personal. When it failed the machinist got to say I told you so and went to work to try and resolve the issues. It took time but they succeeded.
Boeing wanted to get some concessions so they could hold their costs down over the next few years. They were looking to make certain they didn't have to deal with any strikes by machinists, loss of the pension plan replaced by a 401k program, increased share of medical premiums and a longer period for new hires to reach the highest levels of pay for their position. On the other hand, Boeing was willing to give a higher company match for the retirement savings program, a $10,000 signing bonus, and a 1% pay increase every other year on top of their cost of living increases.
The machinist turned the contract revision down with a resounding NO and sent Boeing looking for another place to build this new plane.
I can see both sides of this dispute. I see the machinist who don't want to give up benefits they have struggle to gain. But, I see Boeing trying to compete in a global marketplace with competition arriving from new manufacturers. Then there is the economy of the Northwest while not completely reliant on Boeing there was a future that came with the contract.
Not only would we get the assembly of the 777X but Boeing was going to build a new plant to build the newly designed carbon wing that will lift this new plane and Boeing into the future. The carbon plant would have put the Northwest on the forefront of this technology. It would have ensured the future of Boeing in the Northwest. As it is, predictions indicate we will loose half the people working at the Everett plant to unemployment in the not to distant future.